Competition between recipient and donor cells after bone marrow transplantation for chronic myeloid leukaemia

F. Frassoni, M. Sessarego, A. Bacigalupo, P. Strada, M. Repetto, S. Miceli, D. Occhini, R. Defferrari, A. Marmont

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The cytogenetic and clinical course of three patients allografted for Ph positive chronic myeloid leukaemia are reported. All patients had a peculiar pattern of relapse. Two out of three patients had donor marrow graft pretreated with monoclonal antibody for graft versus host prevention. The cytogenetic relapse was invariably associated with major morphological changes in the marrow indicating that these were also haematological relapses. However, no changes in the peripheral blood count were observed. When relapse occurred in these patients, Ph positive marrow metaphases and host red blood cells ranged from 75% to 100% of the total cell population: thereafter they spontaneously reverted to complete chimaerism. Therefore the presence of leukaemic cells even in considerable amount was not sufficient, per se, to prevail over normal marrow. In addition these observations indicate that relapse was not associated with elimination of the graft: while haemopoiesis was entirely of recipient origin the donor normal stem cells were present and vital although functionally silent. These data suggest that, although TBI remains the more effective tool for eradicating the majority of leukaemic cells, haemopoietic competition between host and donor marrow may have a major impact on leukaemic relapse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)471-475
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Haematology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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